Reduced awareness or unintended ignorance of certain aspects can lead to inattentional blindness, or the failure to notice something that should have been visible because our attention was engaged elsewhere. As a human psychological concept, inattentional blindness also plagues testers and their mindset when testing. In my latest article for Testrail blog, I look at some steps we can take to overcome this challenge and avoid blind spots in our testing work.
It is a natural response of our brain to avoid getting overloaded with information. It automatically focuses on information that is most important while avoiding unnecessary details and noise.
In many situations, this manifests in our focus on the task at hand and its context so much that we neglect surrounding details. This is true for day-to-day activities like bumping into a pillar while looking at our phones, failing to see a swerving car when watching the road ahead… or not noticing a takeaway coffee cup in the middle of a popular television show set in ancient times!
Let’s say you are browsing through a website with the intention of looking at the layouts that must match provided mockups. While you are doing that, you may miss the following:
The homepage of the website has an older logo of the company that should have been replaced by the newer version.
The login box has username and password fields but the login button is missing.
The URL structure of the website is all wonky and the individual page URLs are not named correctly.
Testers often execute tests that have defined steps and expected results, so we frequently overlook anything that is not defined and only check for the results we’re looking for. The tester’s mind is attuned to looking for specified errors, while other information or defects may tend to get missed, even though they may be right in front of our eyes. Pick up any passed test case and try to re-execute it, but this time keep an open eye and an open mind for any new information surrounding the test. More often than not, you will find that many more defects, risk areas or questions can be found in the same area, despite the test having passed.
The use of advanced technology in business environments can sometimes be jarring. Adjustments can be difficult, and on top of that many employees across a range of industries worry that technology can make them obsolete. These can be legitimate concerns in some cases. But, more often than not, technology serves instead to simplify processes and, ultimately, make life easier on people as they go about performing their jobs. This is certainly proving to be the case where project management is concerned.
Project management demands and processes vary across different businesses and industries, which means that not all teams in this category can implement modern technology in exactly the same ways. Here we’ll examine a few key ways in which tech can and has changed project management for the better.
Communication & File Sharing
Maybe the biggest change that technology has brought about for project management teams is a simplification of communication among groups in a work setting. In 2019, our post on ‘Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams’ touched on the idea that various barriers to regular communication can negatively impact productivity. And the same is absolutely true for project management teams of all kinds.
Now, however, there are several different communications platforms that are being used in professional environments to streamline collaboration. Often enough, they’re used to simplify digital communications in office environments in general, providing a space where everyone from a manager to a part-time freelancer can log in, see shared information, engage in relevant chats, and generally stay up to speed. These platforms can also be invaluable for project management teams.
For instance, think about a fairly common project such as developing a website or an app for a business. These are projects that involve contributions from people with different skills in conjunction with one another. A page design can’t be completed without understanding of the content layout; content layout can’t be finalized without a thoroughly developed visual aesthetic, and so on. On these modern communication platforms, these matters can easily be discussed between relevant parties such that the greater project can move forward. Updates and examples can be shared, and people can easily work with relevant collaborators whenever they need to.
In the past, one issue that plagued some project management teams is how to get everyone on the same page in more multi-faceted projects. There haven’t always been structured ways for different aspects of one overarching project to be addressed in a cohesive manner. This is changing, however, thanks in large part to both abstract and specific software.
Learning is an ongoing process, and hopefully a lifelong one. Being a professional in any field requires you to constantly update your knowledge and continue to learn.
Software testing is a very in-demand role, so many people aspire to get into this line of work — but they may not know where to begin.
If you are fresh out of college or looking to switch careers, even if you are not from a computing or engineering background at all, you can jump-start your career in testing. In my article published at TestRail blog, I have given some tips and advice on how to become a self-taught software tester this year.
Books provide a world of knowledge, and despite shifting trends, books can never be outdated, as older ideas can give you a foundation for new information. Reading a book allows you to delve deeper into a topic of your choice at your own pace.
Begin by searching for books on software testing, quality assurance practices, and industry leaders.
Then seek books that can help you start applying the knowledge.
If picking up a physical book is not your cup of tea, read online — there are many great portals with awesome content, articles, and ideas.
Diversify Your Knowledge
Software testing is not a singular skill; it requires a number of skills, both technical and non-technical. When beginning your quest to learn about software testing, delve into various areas of the domain and look for what interests you the most.
Testers find defects and raise awareness about quality. What happens after the bugs are found can be any tester’s guess, though. Bugs may get delayed, postponed, go unnoticed or linger on due to lack of information.
In my article for Ranorex blog, I talk about how Testers need to champion the cause of their bugs in order to avoid unneeded delays in fixing defects that are important. At the same time, testers should maintain a distance to make it an impersonal and impartial experience. Testers need to master the art of bug advocacy!
Why is advocacy important?
Advocacy is basically pleading the case for a bug to be fixed. The testers who find the bugs are the ones who need to advocate for their bugs. It is important that they take a stand and voice their opinions.
Some bugs may not be deemed important from a business perspective, as they seem too small. But in reality, they may be blocking an important feature for a particular user group. On the other hand, some bugs may seem more critical than they truly are, and while fixing them may be important, it may not be the highest of priority.
Whatever the case, testers must aim to present the facts and data in such a way that decision-makers are able to make well-informed resolutions about the issue.
Communication is key
Advocating for anything is not a one-way street. It takes discussion, debate and reaching a consensus on key points to make a collective decision. This is where testers’ communication skill plays a key role. Testers need to have good communication, both verbal and written.
That said, this article will help you identify burnout symptoms so you can understand this syndrome better for yourself and for those around you who might be experiencing it too.
The following are some warning signs of burnout:
Irritability and indifference
Tech Republic notes in an article on burnout warning signs that being irritable and indifferent are telltale signs of burnout. Granted, getting irritated is a normal reaction — but if it happens more than usual or if you end up snapping at someone for the smallest reason, you’re likely burned out. The same holds true when both your attention to detail and job interest wane. This increasing detachment is one of the three dimensions of burnout, according to the WHO.
It’s normal to feel tired at the end of your work shift, but if you feel drained just hours (or even minutes) after starting work, then you’re probably burned out. This energy depletion is yet another dimension of burnout, and it can be exacerbated by the long hours expected of you.
Testing concepts and techniques can be learned. But having a knack for testing is different. What makes someone a born tester? What are some personality traits and skills that can make a person innately good at this profession?
In my latest article published at https://blog.gurock.com/natural-traits-great-tester/ , I have described four traits that belong to people who naturally make great testers. Developing these traits can help you in your testing career, and if you are a manager, these are the traits to seek when looking to hire new testers for your team!
Human Testing is a craft that is more than executing a bunch of tests, performing clicks and actions. A tester has a unique understanding of the system and ways to critique it. Over time, the tester develops a deeper comprehension of the application and its intricacies, integrations, weak points, and history. This makes them the best judge to find out the failure points of the system and comment on its health.
The Product Risk Knowledge Gap is the difference between what we know about the product and what we need to know. The purpose of testing is to close or at least reduce this gap.
While automated checks can help in determining problems in what we know (and have scripted as checks), it may not help as much in the risk areas of what we do not know about the product. That requires exploration, creativity, intuition and domain knowledge. This is the human aspect of testing.
Automated scripts have some built-in steps in the form of test data that we pre-define and verifications that we add. These steps are helpful for areas of the application that we need to check, double-check or re-check a number of times, and because these types of checks can be made explicit, they can be automated. Since the same steps will be performed the same way over and over again, it is better called “checking” rather than “testing.”